The import and processing of herbicide tolerant rice LLRICE62
The application concerns the commercial import of genetically modified rice for direct use in feed and food and processing. Cultivation is not part of the application. The genetically modified rice variety tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate was produced by insertion of the BAR gene encoding the enzyme phosphinothricin-acetyl-transferase (PAT) in the plant genome by particle bombardment. PAT acetylates L-glufosinate thereby conferring tolerance to glufosinate ammonium. In Europe rice is cultivated in Italy, Greece, Portugal and France. The climatic conditions in the Netherlands exclude cultivation, growth, and spread of rice, or establishment of feral populations. Cultivation of rice is dependent on temperate temperatures and irrigation. Expression of herbicide tolerance will not alter these biological characteristics or increase the northern limit of rice cultivation. No wild or cultivated relatives of rice are present in the Netherlands. Therefore, accidental spillage of rice grains will neither result in establishment in the wild of genetically modified rice plants nor to gene flow. The PAT protein has been used widely to confer herbicide tolerance in genetically modified plants for more than a decade. No adverse effects have been reported. Considering the above-mentioned, COGEM is of the opinion that the proposed import and processing of LLRICE62 do not pose a significant risk for human health and the environment.